Where The Wild Things Are

Hooked on Alaska


Where The Wild Things Are
By Charles P. Wohlforth


Grizzly Bears
Number in the wild in Alaska: 25,000-38,000.
Best places to find them: Denali National Park, Katmai National Park, Kodiak Island.
How close can you get?
Stay at least a few hundred yards away unless you're in a vehicle or at a guided bear observatory.
Chances a child can see one: Fair. Brown bears blend into their surroundings and can be hard to pick out at a distance.

Humpback Whales
Number in the wild in Alaska: 750, summer only.
Best places to find them: Resurrection Bay outside Seward, Frederick Sound outside Petersburg, Point Adolphus near Gustavus.
How close can you get? Federal law prohibits vessels from forcing the humpbacks to change course, but sometimes the whales will surface right nearby.
Chances a child can see one: Fair to Good. Patience and quick reactions are needed to catch a glimpse of one when it briefly surfaces.

Sea Otters
Number in the wild in Alaska: 100,000-150,000.
Best places to find them: Small boat harbors all over Southeast and Southcentral Alaska, Kenai Fjords National Park, Prince William Sound.
How close can you get? It's illegal to harass or handle otters, but in a small boat you can sometimes get within a few feet.
Chances a child can see one: Excellent. Sea otters are ubiquitous in coastal Alaska and seem almost to enjoy the presence of humans.

Bald Eagles
Number in the wild in Alaska: 50,000.
Best places to find them: Almost any coastal area in Southcentral or Southeast Alaska; Homer and Haines are especially good.
How close can you get? Bald eagles are generally seen at a distance, and are protected by federal law from being disturbed.
Chances a child can see one:
Good. Eagles are easy to see in flight, but can be hard to pick out when sitting in a tree.

Caribou
Number in the wild in Alaska: 960,000.
Best places to find them: Denali National Park, Dalton Highway north of the Brooks Range, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
How close can you get? Caribou tend to flee from people. They may wander closer if you stay in a vehicle.
Chances a child can see one: Fair to poor. Caribou often are seen at a distance and patience is required to wait for them to come to you.

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